Saturday, August 28, 2010

Brooklyn Bridge Park (again)

Another weekend, another picnic. Friday was one of those perfect blue New York September days, when streets seem longer, deeper; trees taller, outlines sharper, life, better.

I wanted to take pictures in good light of the Lobelia cardinalis in the bog at Pier 1, at the northern end of Brooklyn Bridge Park. We left early, just before 6pm, and the sun was still high by the time we'd reached the Atlantic Avenue, playground end of the park (Pier 6), where I snapped this Hasidic family in stripes in front of Uncle Louie G's icecream truck.

The last time we were here was a few hours ahead of a long, misting drizzle. Very different mood.

We were hoping that the bike path connecting the extremities of the park would be open. It was, though there is still a large undeveloped tract separating the two, above, so you still have to walk along the unprepossessing road beneath the layer cake of the BQE (Brooklyn Queens Expressway), topped by the Promenade.

The BQE (below). It thunders beneath the scenic pedestrian Promenade, which it effectively cuts off from the water and the new park. Ideas are being tossed around for some resolution. One is to build a tunnel for a redirected BQE, and turn the existing layers into a Highline. Which is a bit silly, given the enormous cost of tunnels, not to mention the decade it would take to build.

We say enclose this part of the BQE, and build arching, grassed access at several points from the park up to the Promenade.

Ha, but I just found this on BBP site:

A future component of Pier 1 is the provision of a pedestrian bridge from Squibb Park, located to the north of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. This bridge will allow direct pedestrian access from Brookyn [sic] Heights to the Pier 1 uplands.

I quite like this stretch of weeds and abandoned wharfs, from which we were separated by chainlink. My little lens fits through chainlink.

Here, at low tide, is the tidal pool where I sat the other night, watching fish jump out of the water. At the end of the evening, the water had crept back in, clear enough to see the permeable pavers beneath, and there were hundreds of small fish. It was wonderful.

The paddy field of marsh grasses was exposed at this low tide...They are covered completely when it is high.

Our chosen lawn, facing New York Harbour, (and called Harbor View Lawn...yes, note my own stubborn clinging to the "u") was closed. Again! Not once has it been open when we have arrived with a picnic. Fortunately two others were open. We chose the higher of the two, facing north - Bridge View Lawn.

I love this park, but I hate the light towers. They are pressure-treated tree trunks, and ugly as hell. I guess they were chosen over steel columns for economic reasons, or maybe not. Would steel look any better? No. But they are in the way of every view and every shot. I'm hoping the pressure-treated option means that they are temporary.

In ten years some the trees are going to be big, and later, bigger, and this view will be very different - oaks, plane trees (curious about those...why?), sassafras, Kentucky coffee trees...Tall, big uns. The place will be very, very leafy. More about all the plants here, and I have asked for a plant list. Perhaps one will materialize.

Our picnic, courtesy of Stinky. But, as loyal as I've been to Stinky, I need a less expensive cheese shop. Ouch. I may defect to Manhattan: East Village Cheese, and Pino's, the old school butchery on Sullivan Street next door to Pepe Rosso - where, months ago, I bought not one but two dry sopressata-style sausages for $10. You're looking at double that at Stinky's.

For the picnic I made a quick slaw of crisper drawer leftovers (doesn't that sound delicious?): grated carrot, radish and thinly sliced celery, with a champagne vinegar and mayonnaise dressing. Yum. Three cheeses, wild boar sausage, a Sullivan Street baguette, sparkling, er...grape juice...(we would never, ever drink alcohol in public) and it was perfect.

Expensive or no, the cheese was wonderful. Ascutney Mountain, a Vermont-made, Swiss style hard cow cheese ($7.80 for a modest wedge, and $30 a pound. You have got to be kidding). And a wonderful Brebirousse d'Argental...a creamy ewe's milk cheese (below). The brie's name I forget, and it wasn't on the packet. Also very good. But just over budget. Sigh. I got carried away.

The Gehry seems to have been fully clad, at last.

Busses and busses of touring tourists pulled up on the street behind us. Like a cute little herd of some sort of animal, all clicking away with their useless flashes...

Some Spanish tourists came and sat practically on top of us even though there was plenty of room around, with the Americans all spaced nicely, puritanically apart...They were eating dinner from the Calexico street cart, down below near the Barge Music barge - previously a SoHo-exclusive street cart institution serving tacos and burritos, and now with a real restaurant in Red Hook.

On the hill, iconic Blue Marble ice cream did a brisk trade. Blue Marble has just had to close its original Atlantic Avenue store because the landlord raised the rent.

A film crew was setting up. They seemed to be new at it. We never did find out what the white balloons were for.

All shapes and sizes and persuasions visited.

Inside the barge, a pianist performed. I think this is one of the best tickets in town. Good music, excellent view behind the musicians and affordable tickets.

The river continued working...Barges, tugs, pleasure boats, the Sea Streak, always streaking.

Photographers jostled for position at the railing, which just a year ago was quite inaccessible, just a useless wharf out over the water.

On the way home, the bike lane was still open.

Back at the Atlantic Avenue end, the rudbeckia were still there, sleeping, and the Keep Off sign was gone. Did they see that picture?

Uncle Louie G's was deserted.

And Vince demonstrated at my request the danger that lurketh in the signage. In the age of texting someone is going to skin their face here or scalp themselves; this is one of many face-height signs.

Peril for French noses...

And on that note...

The End.

Oh, and the cardinal flowers that I went to photograh? - in the shadow of a mound, and I must go back in the morning-time.
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